Jefferson, the Barbary War, and 9/11: Analyzing Constitutional Principles and Evaluating how America Goes to War

Duration: 60 min

The Barbary War has often been overlooked in the study of American history, but there were significant precedents established by the decision made to take America into it’s first foreign war. In this lesson students will examine the decision to engage in the Barbary War and assess if Thomas Jefferson acted within the powers appointed to him as commander in chief, and then evaluate the impact of these actions on America’s response to the 9/11 attacks. The goal for students to see how both wars were started without necessarily following the procedures laid out in the constitution. No formal declaration of war was made in either case, but both lasted for several years while primarily being directed by the executive with little congressional oversight which contradicts the intent of the Constitution.

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Handouts (PDF Format)
  • Jefferson and Barbary War - Article on Barbary War      View  |  Download
  • Jefferson and Barbary War - Bush address Sept 2001     View  |  Download
  • Jefferson and Barbary War - Additional handouts      View  |  Download

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Grade Level

High School

Type of Lesson

Cooperative Learning

Author Info

Name: Jeff Carter
School: Central High School
City: St. Joseph
State: Missouri